Jul 4, 2019 - Jul 5, 2019
2 guests - 1 room
Where to stay in Varanasi
Also known as Kashi and Benaras, the Indian holy city of Varanasi is perched on the banks of the River Ganges and is one of the holiest of the seven sacred cities in Hinduism.
Estimated at having been in existence for anything from 3,000 to over 5,000 years, Varanasi is one of the world's oldest inhabited cities and renowned for its abundance of temples even though many were destroyed during medieval times. Today pilgrims flock to Jyotirlinga Visvanatha Temple or Golden Temple, which was rebuilt in 1776 and is dedicated to Lord Shiva.
For many visitors, a boat ride across the sacred waters of the Ganges is the true way to capture the spirit of the ancient city. Whether it's observing the pilgrims meditate and cleanse their souls or watching the candlelit paper boats float by carrying with them the prayers of many, the Ganga Arati – the sunset evening worship – is a memorable Indian snapshot.
Off the water, auto rickshaws and cycle rickshaws are the most widely available public transport within the old city, while city buses and taxis are also widely available.
If you're considering exploring more of the vast country, read our guide to the top 10 attractions and tourist places in India.
Hotels in Varanasi
A luxurious option located in 40 acres of tropical gardens, The Gateway Hotel Ganges is conveniently placed for easy access to the JVH Mall and Bharat Mata. Located 6 km from Varanasi City Center, the hotel is also just 1 km from Varanasi Junction Railway Station and provides guests with an outdoor spa and swimming pool and well-appointed luxury rooms.
A mid-priced hotel in the center of Varanasi, the Rivatas is within walking distance of both Bharat Mata and the JVH Mall and is a popular choice for both tourists and business visitors. The hotel is located just 1 km from Varanasi Railway Station and Bus Stand, while the Kaashi Vishwanath Temple is approximately 5 km away.
Ideally located in the prime touristic area of Dasaswamedh Ghat, the budget choice Ganpati Guest House offers free Wi-Fi in all the rooms as well as massage facilities and a relaxing garden.
This information is correct as of January 2018
Further reading on India
Old part of Varanasi by the Ganges River was the most authentic and traditional part of India you will ever see. Narrow maze like alley ways filled with shops, restaurants, temples, markets, street vendors and cows everywhere.
One of the world’s oldest continually inhabited cities and one of Hinduism’s seven holy cities, Varanasi is a hub of philosophy, theosophy, medicine and learning. It is now a chaotic mélange of pilgrims, tourists and trident-toting sadhus, cycle rickshaws, boats and ghats. It is not an overstatement or cliché to say that there truly is nowhere else quite like Varanasi. It is impossible to leave unstirred, unshaken or unmoved.
Varanasi has got to be one of the most fascinating and historically and culturally significant cities in the world. It's also one of the dirtiest, including the river Ganges. It took me two trips to India to get here, but my India experience was not complete without seeing the masses bathe in the holy river.
There are so many places in this world that can leave a mark on you as a traveler, but few, no I don't think anyplace in the world resonated its personality on me like Varanasi. I have been fortunate to travel India extensively and know the deep significance of this city to Hindu's - and it is said to be one of the oldest cities in the world. Varanasi located on the Ganges "the holiest of holy rivers" offers up lots of different moods. Spiritual, overwhelmed, amazed. This is a city that is intense - an explosion on all the senses. It is a place if you are interested in India and Hinduism that you must come, however, it is an intense place and certainly not for everyone. I have been twice and it remains at the very top of my memorable travel experiences.